The Future of Pubic Transportation, US Style?

If you don’t follow him, Toby Buckell had a great quickie post up on roboticly driven cars. I’ve always thought this had the best probability of resulting in “public” transportation in the US. We’re a big ol’ nation, after all, and we like having our own car in order to drive from Wyoming to Poughkeepsie or wherever.

But even back in the day it was possible for us to have a string of automatic cars traveling inches apart, so it’s really only a matter of time. So, while it’s hard to get lots of politicians to get together and do things like spend a ton of money on advance public mass transportation, I can see people eventually being okay with sitting in their cars and enjoying a quiet ride into work.

Crazy? Maybe. But stranger things have happened.

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Posted in Science, The World.


  1. Picture your car. Now picture a bunch of cars at rush hour. Picture the Windows operating system (any will do). Visualize a high-speed traffic flow . . . then toss in just a *single* BSOD.

    Yeah, none for me, thanks (and I say that as a Process Automation guy).


  2. I understand what you’re saying, but embedded software has been controlling far more sophisticated machinery than automobiles for a very long time. In addition, crash avoidance systems could well be far more capable than humans in the loop, too. It’s really just a matter of time…but that time could be quite long. The cultural issues are far more difficult to overcome than the technical ones.

    Another way of looking at it is, even if a screw up cost 50 or 100 lives, it could end up being that the frequency of these is so low that the numbers are far better than our current highway death rates. Kinda like a plane crash hurts a lot of people, but there are so few plane crashes that it’s a very safe mode of travel relative to cars.

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